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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Dual Woodstocks planned

By Patricio Robayo - staff writer

The 1969 Woodstock Festival in Bethel was organized by Michael Lang, who is now planning a 50th Anniversary Concert in Watkins Glen which will coincide with an anniversary celebration in Bethel.
SULLIVAN — Hot off the heels of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts announcing their concert weekend for the golden celebration of Woodstock, the original organizer for the 1969 festival, Michael Lang, has recently announced his own Woodstock concert on the same weekend as Bethel.
Lang announced he would be holding his own three-day concert in Watkins Glen at the Watkins Glen International (WGI) race track, 155 miles away from the original site.
“While the original site in Bethel remains close to our hearts, it no longer has the capacity to hold a real Woodstock Festival. I'm delighted that Bethel Woods is doing events in the coming year to celebrate what we brought to life in 1969,” said Lang in a released statement.
In a news conference given on Wednesday, WGI Director of Public Relations Chris Banker spoke to reporters about the event and said the organizers could expect between 50,000 to 100,000 concertgoers.
“We are thrilled to be associated with it and to have it here on our grounds,” said Banker.

Compared to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, their website states their venue contains a maximum of 15,000 seats.
Bethel Woods is seeking state grants to acquire $1 million for property expansion, according to a report released in October 2018 by the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council.
According to the report, Bethel Woods plans to add camping to its complex to expand its capacity and encourage multi-day festivals and events.
According to the New York Times, Lang's vision for Woodstock 50th would be a “large-scale camping weekend combining music with a program of films, speakers and partnerships with organizations like HeadCount, which registers young voters.”
The concert will be an “eclectic bill,” that will include hip-hop, rock, and some pop and some of the legacy bands from the original festival, according to Rolling Stone Magazine.
No musicians were announced by Lang, but according to Rolling Stone Magazine, it will feature over 40 acts performing across three stages.
Lang's concert will also host a number of non-profit and cause-driven organizations along with screenings, panels, and art installations, according to the announcement.
The Democrat reached out to Woodstock Ventures, LLC, the organizers of the festival, for comment but had not received a response by press time.
Not to be outdone, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts said they would present a series of live conversations, demo workshops and roundtables that will be dispersed throughout the year leading up to their 50th concert celebration.
Being called the “Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival,” Bethel Woods will not only have the concert but also a slew of events for the anniversary year such as a special exhibition opening on March 30 called “We Are Golden” which will examine Woodstock and what the youth of 1969 wanted for the world.
The three-day concert in Sullivan County, according to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, will be “Three days of memorable experiences that will include live performances from prominent and emerging artists spanning multiple genres and decades and TED-style talks from leading futurists and retro-tech experts.”
Darlene Fedun, CEO of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts said, “Fifty years ago, people gathered peacefully on our site inspired to change the world through music. As the stewards of this historic site, we remain committed to preserving this rich history and spirit, and to educating and inspiring new generations to contribute positively to the world through music, culture, and community.”
Furthermore, there will be some intimate performances in the Bethel Woods event gallery where some musicians who performed at the iconic festival will be invited back to the area to be part of the 2019 Event Gallery concert series.
“Any Bethel Woods event(s) as part of the anniversary year will not be produced, sponsored by or affiliated with Woodstock Ventures, LLC, the organizers of the 1969 Festival,” said Fedun.

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